It can be tough to be a teacher.
On top of trying to instruct difficult tasks and concepts to young people who’ve never encountered them before, they sometimes must also deal with shenanigans.
At least that was the experience of one particular teacher who discussed a recent lesson in a post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit.
The Original Poster (OP), known as jargonfargondingle on the site, outlined the bizarre nature of his experience right in the title.
“AITA for telling YouTube prankers to stop wasting my time?”
OP began with some context.
“I’m a 38 year attorney who has a passion for playing and teaching music. On my spare time (which I don’t have much of), I give electric guitar and bass lessons at my local music store.”
“It doesn’t pay much, but I don’t do it for the money, I do it because I love teaching, and watching people get into playing music is one of my all time favorite things.”
A recent lesson seemed like business as usual.
“A couple days ago, two younger guys (maybe 22) come in for a lesson. They say that the one guy just bought a bass from the store last week and paid for a lesson.”
“Cool. That’s the most common thing I hear.”
“I start giving the lesson, and I notice that the guy that came with is recording. That’s common enough, albeit it’s usually a parent; regardless, it’s fine and I don’t mind it at all.”
“The kid in the lesson is playing fine enough, making little mistakes here and there as newbies usually do, but all in all, he’s doing a fine job.”
But then things took a turn.
“The end of the lesson rolls around, and as I always do, I end it by teaching them a well-known bass riff. I teach him how to play the bass part for Feel Good Inc. (sorry, I know it’s in your head now).”
“He plays it well enough, buzzing here and there, but all in all, he does a good job. After he plays it, he goes ‘Hey, can I try something else?’ So I say ‘Yeah, sure!’ “
“He then starts playing Master of Puppets – a notoriously difficult bass line – damn near perfectly. About 30 seconds in, he plays some Muse, then goes into Primus.”
“This probably lasts less than 2 minutes, but I get up, open the door, and tell them politely that obviously he doesn’t need lessons, so lessons over.”
“They both start laughing, but I’m just annoyed.”
But the kids stuck around.
“The kid playing the bass goes ‘Haha man, lighten up! It’s just a prank!’ I say ‘That’s great man, but I don’t have time for it.’ “
“They follow me out still cackling and telling me to chill out and have a little fun. I tell them I’m not amused and tell them to waste someone else’s time.”
“They go ‘Don’t worry, bro, you’re still getting paid, so have a little fun!’ “
“I tell them sternly but politely that I don’t do this for the money, I do it because I want to teach. I tell them that when they book up a spot just to do this kind of thing, they prevent others who actually want to learn from getting a spot.”
“Sure, there’s usually plenty of spots open for other students, but that’s not the point. The point is that there’s still taking up a lesson just to waste someone’s time.”
That monologue was received as well as you’d expect.
“They basically tell me I ‘have sour grapes’ and that I’m a jerk. Other people in the store are laughing and seem to be taking their side, telling me to lighten up and ‘live a little.’ “
“I almost don’t want to give lessons at that store anymore over this.”
“Am I in the wrong here? AITA for just wanting to teach?”
In anticipation of some questions, OP added a brief clarification at the end of the post.
“I’d like to clarify the line ‘there’s usually plenty of spots open for other students.’ “
“That’s slots overall for all teachers, meaning when they used one of my slots, other students could still get a slot with other teachers, but the fact still stands that they took one of my slots that would’ve been booked otherwise.”
“I book up ever slot on the days I teach, so when I say that it’s a waste of my time and others’ time, it is.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most Redditors were on OP’s side. Like him, they drew a clear line between funny and annoying.
“NTA. I hate 99.9% of pranks, especially pranks that waste someone’s time so someone else can snag a little clout. It’s not about not having a sense of humor, it’s about thinking your need for attention is more important than whatever anyone else is up to.”
“You probably would have made it easier on yourself by just rolling your eyes, laughing, and moving on, but no one has a ‘right’ to that reaction from you.” — tenkindsofsalt
“NTA Pranks are funny when everyone laughs.”
“Getting paid for wasting your time doesn’t make it funny.” — ebwoods1
“I may be out of the loop but what part of that was a prank? Dude just wasted OP’s time trying to show off he knows how to play the bass” — IceLZNUS
“NTA. I get it, I sew and crochet, I love showing people how to do these crafts, love sharing the history and creating a community of crafters, in much the same way you love teaching and sharing music.”
“These guys just sh** all over your passion and laughed at it and you.” — Whimsical_Mara
A few pushed OP to stay focused on what matters most.
“NTA, you offered to help them learn to play bass, not to be a part of their joke and though they may be a bit too immature to understand it they did waste your time. You seem like a nice guy though so I hope this experience doesn’t put you off helping others” — Sk111W
“NTA but don’t let it get you down. You got paid, you taught your lesson, and trust me, more customers will come and be available. It’s annoying but don’t let it ‘make me not want to teach at the store anymore’ ” — Chairmanca93
With the annoying pranksters now in the rearview mirror, we also hope OP keeps doing what he loves.